FOR MONTHS they performed live in front of a national TV audience of as many as three million. But by the end, all but one of the Canadian Idol finalists had been kicked off the stage, their dreams seemingly shattered. We all know what’s happened to Canada’s prince of pop, Ryan Malcolm, since the Sept. 16 finale-he’s toured the country, released his debut album, Home, and jetted to London to compete in World Idol. But what have the three almost-idols been up to?
Although she finished fourth, Audrey de Montigny-/a belle chanteuse from la belle provinceis so far the big winner. The 18-yearold is the only other finalist to score a record deal, with a half-French, half-English album due out early next year. BMG Canada (the label that reserved the right to first dibs on all of Idol’s top contenders) picked up its option on the native of Ste-Julienne, no doubt aware that the public support behind Quebec’s star system (think Celine Dion) will serve the sultry Québécois singer, and itself, quite well.
While the other finalists have yet to sign deals, that could soon change, since their BMG commitment expired last week. Wasting no time, thirdplace finisher Billy Klippert immediately began his search for a label to represent him and will spend January writing and recording music, backed by his long-time band Kovered in Lies. He’s hoping against hope to have a CD on store shelves in February. “I want to make a good, mainstream rock album and get the songs on the radio,” says Klippert, whose earnings have spiked since his pre-Idol days, which were spent busking and teaching guitar in his hometown of Calgary. “I’m definitely in a new tax bracket. At some corporate gigs I’ve made $3,500 for four minutes. It’s nuts, but great for me.”
And while Idol runner-up Gary Beals is no Clay Aiken (the American runner-up), he’s also been busy with public appearances-including a gig with the show’s final four at a fundraiser for Paul Martin earlier this month in Toronto. He just finished taping a TV commercial for Aliant, an Atlantic Canada cellphone service provider, and is doing a lot of thinking about his career options. “I’m doing some recording and I’ve talked with some smaller labels,” says the 21year-old, who’s back home in Dartmouth, N.S. “The exposure from Idol made all this possible, and I’d consider moving to Toronto or another large Canadian city if I feel I need to get myself out there even more.” Beals, like the other unsuccessful finalists, is determined not to be remembered as one of the singers who lost to that Canadian Idol kid.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.